Before the slasher craze would strike in the 80s and both Voorhees and Myers would don their respective masks…
Before even Halloween or Black Christmas would sew the seeds of what was to come in the world of celluloid horror, Blood and Lace would grace all the hallmarks of what typifies the sub-genre.
Initially considered to be too gratuitous for the cinema audience by the MPA (Motion Picture Association) Blood and Lace would find a home as a regular slot at drive-in theatres, where it would garner a following.
As the film opens, we’re greeted with the now familiar trope of the killers POV as they stalk through a house and centre in on the intended victims lying in bed, being clobbered by the weapon of choice; a hammer, and then setting the house on fire.
The sole survivor, the woman’s daughter, Ellie (Melody Patterson) is then sent off to an orphanage to be raised by the crazed Mrs. Deere (Gloria Grahame) and her odd-job man, Tom (Len Lesser). This is where the level of sinister and fuckdom begins as Mrs. Deere is a crackpot, who keeps her dead husband on freeze, believing that it will keep him alive. She is also fuelled by money, working the children in her care to the bone, and for those who she pushed beyond the limits, keeps in the freezer in order to keep up the head count and receive her welfare checks.
Tom is no saint either, with eyes on the young females that come through the orphanage to satiate his sexual lusts. In fact, it’s hard to actually find anyone to like in this movie, as our lead protagonist, Ellie is suitably off-kilter and hard to connect to for obvious reasons when the full scope of the story is revealed. We also have a lingering, sexual predator in Detective Carruthers (Vic Taybuck), who has a curious interest in Ellie, that reveals itself in a couple of ways in the films climax, pushing the boundaries of taste and decency.
This twist in the storyline isn’t necessarily a shock moment, as you can sense it coming from a mile out, but the fact that it still travels there, leaves you feeling completely disturbed.
A sign of a movie leaving its sticky residue on the mind of its viewer and potentially where it still resonates when viewed today, despite its slow methodological pace, cheap budget, and standard script.
- Saul Muerte